Ah, springtime…when a young man’s (and young woman’s) fancy turns to thoughts of love—at least that’s the hope of some publishers with new and forthcoming books that offer single Christians encouragement—and some tough love—as they navigate the often-rough waters of dating and romance.
Thomas Nelson is turning to "America's Favorite Bachelor," Sean Lowe, from TV’s The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, for love advice. In For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage and Why Nice Guys Finish First (Jan.), Lowe writes about his experiences on the shows, the challenges of being chaste, and the importance of doing what’s morally right.
Dawn Eden, who converted from Judaism to Protestantism, then recently to Roman Catholicism, offers an updated Catholic Edition of her 2006 book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On (Ave Maria Press, Jan.). PW asked Eden how single Catholics can live faithfully in a society where casual sex is often accepted behavior. Says Eden, “As an unmarried Catholic, I don’t think of my chastity as a ‘no’ to sex; I think of it as a ‘yes’ to love, because it shows me how to be truly present for others.”
A Christian’s perception of the world’s view of sexuality changes when observed through the Bible, notes Debra Hirsch, author of Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations about Sexuality and Spirituality (IVP Books, May). “Looking at sexuality through a distinctly biblical lens allows us to see it in terms of God’s grand purposes for human sexuality,” she says. “We can understand sex as part and parcel of our spirituality and within the larger human experience of longing and desire.”
In The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Sex, Marriage & Redemption (David C. Cook, Jan.), Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Tex., keeps scripture in the forefront, using The Song of Solomon to help singles and couples navigate contemporary issues surrounding attraction, courtship, and marriage. International speaker/author Grace Fox gives tips on tending the flame in One-Minute Romance for Couples (Harvest House, Jan.). With an emphasis on having fun and on meaningful conversations, Fox’s book contains open-ended questions for couples in every stage of their relationship, from the first date to the seasoned marriage.
In Who’s Picking Me Up from the Airport? And Other Questions Single Girls Ask (Zondervan. Feb.), writer and speaker Cindy Johnson candidly and humorously tells what it is like to be a single Christian in the church's couples-focused culture. In the book she asks, does Jesus actually care about dating and singleness? And if so, how does faith in him enter into it? Johnson’s advice is to seek Jesus first, then tackle the challenges of being a single Christian.
Worship leader and "The Sexy Celibate" blogger Kate Hurley offers wisdom for Christian singles in Cupid Is a Procrastinator: Making Sense of the Unexpected Single Life (Harvest House, Feb.). Hurley doesn’t claim to have the secret to finding true love, but she does offer support to those disappointed in their singleness. Women looking for more direct guidance might be drawn to psychologist Georgia Shaffer’s 12 Smart Choices for Finding the Right Guy (Harvest House, Jan.). Shaffer explains how to find the right mate by pinpointing certain qualities, recognizing true integrity, and minimizing purely emotional reactions.
Andy Stanley, author of The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating (Zondervan, Jan.), also urges a practical approach. “When you’re physically attracted to someone, and there’s that extra something we refer to as chemistry, it just feels right,” he says. “And when it feels right, it’s easy to assume it is right. But romance is like a fog—nobody sees clearly.” A reality check might be in order, Stanley says. “If you’re currently in a relationship your friends and your momma disapprove of—and you and ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms. Right’ seem to be the only ones who are certain the relationship is right—slow down.”